Athletes are very good at dedicating themselves to training and following a nutrition plan but many find it really hard to know when to rest and for how long. I managed to catch up with one of the most experienced athletes and coaches in the UK to find out his views on do athletes rest enough? When should they rest and for how long?
Gym Owner/Coach @ CrossFit JST and Founder/Head Programmer @ JST Compete Programming
7 x Regionals Appearances
2 x CrossFit Games appearances (2015 Individual, 2017 Team)
5 Rounds for time:
25 Cal Row
16 C2B Pull ups
9 4” Strict deficit HSPU
Favourite CrossFit Move
Split Jerks or Strict HSPU
How many people do you programme for?
We have a total of 220 athlete following JST Compete Programme. Whether thats competition or individual programmes. I have 8 individual athletes and programme for the main competition programmes
What kind of athletes are they?
All athletes on the programmes are either CrossFit competitors or aspiring competitors. My individual clients are all regionals/Games level athletes.
Athletes are very good at putting time into training but do you find athletes take enough time to recover
Athletes could recover a lot better. To make it to the top you have to have every area dialled in! Training, nutrition, recovery, lifestyle. Recovery is certainly overlooked in my opinion. There are a lot of expensive time-wasting gadgets too. The most effective way is good nutrition, hydration and light aerobic movement.
(I (Lucy) personally recommend Compex, it aids my recovery 100% – LMCF for discount on any device.
Do athletes take enough rest days?
Mine do! haha! I think people are getting a lot better at letting go of the stigma that they need to train every day!
Can athletes train all year-round year on year without needing to take a substantial break/rest period?
How long should they take off and when?
Dependant on the individual but after a long period of training which usually finishes in competition. I would recommend at least 3 weeks of lower volume/intensity and lower structured training. Exercising and being active is fine but just not “training”
What happens if an athlete does not rest or recover enough?
Best case scenario is they reach a plateau. Worst case is they get injuries or burn out
Do you advise athletes to take a year out or a set period of time off to just relax, not follow structure and enjoy other forms of training, exercise etc
Depending on the athletes and their competition season and goals. At the end of the season they should definitely take time out. The CrossFit season comes around very quick, it can be a very wise move for you longevity to alternate years pushing for team and individual. You see a lot of athletes take a step back for a year and then the year later they are in the best shape of their lives
What are the biggest contributors to athletes burning out/getting adrenal fatigue/resenting training?
Not taking the time off at the right periods and also trying to juggle full time training with a full-time job or other work/lifestyle commitments. It’s a tough balance in CrossFit. Very few athletes get paid to train like a full-time athlete so need to work to get by. There a very few sports around where that’s the case
What are some warning signs?
Disrupted sleep, demotivation, injuries and niggles for no particular reason, plateau or decrease in performances.
We do not yet know what the long- term effects of training CrossFit are. How do you think an athletes body may look after 7-10 years of pushing their body to the limits every day?
I don’t think any different to any other professional sports person. Some athletes will be in better condition than others and that’s the athletes who have trained smart, had a good coach and listened to them.